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30 January 2009 @ 09:04 pm
 
Title: Family Ties
Author: GypsyJr
Fandom: How I Met Your Mother
Pairing: Barney/Robin, established relationship
Warning: Futurefic, kidfic (though not in the traditional sense)
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction, and no copyright infringement or disrespect is intended.
Rating: PG
Summary: Despite not being parents, Barney and Robin still manage to pass a few things on to the next generation.
A/N: Thanks to one_more_cherry and sotto_voice for their feedback and encouragement.


It was surprising how easily Barney took on the role of uncle. In retrospect, Robin realized it shouldn't have been - after all, he'd had plenty of practice with James and Tom's son. She'd expected things to be a little weird when her friends started having kids, but it was still odd seeing her John Woo movies mingle with Barney's growing collection of odd and obscure children's films. Face Off and Hard Target were suddenly sharing shelf space with Twice Upon A Time and The Last Unicorn (which Barney insisted was awesome, despite the inherent girliness of its subject matter.)

This weekend's babysitting gig apparently called for repeated viewings of Yellow Submarine, which was starting to grate on Robin's nerves. There was probably some unspoken universal law against disliking the Beatles, but by the third or fourth time the Sergeant and his band returned music to the people of Pepperland, they were starting to get pretty old.

It wasn't until the following morning, when she was woken by a chorus of voices serenading her with a shaky rendition of "Nowhere Man," that she began to understand. It felt like she was seeing a hint of something buried long ago, when Barney was young and idealistic and still believed that all you needed was love.

Later, as they bundled the kids into their jackets and gathered their scattered belongings for the trip home, she thought she heard him humming "When I'm 64" under his breath.
_____

Come on, come on, come on-"

Barney smiled as Ted's daughter, a bubbly brown-haired four year old named Melanie, pulled him along. The rest of the group was at the hospital, where Mini-Mosby #2 was in the process of making his grand entrance. Things were taking longer than expected, so Lily had suggested that he take Melanie to the park to get some fresh air. The little girl was thrilled at the chance for some one-on-one time with her favorite uncle.

Her tiny hand slipped out of his as she ran headlong down the path, scattering a flock of extremely well-fed pigeons. The two of them had stopped at a vending machine before leaving the hospital, so she had plenty of energy to burn off. She was busy spinning in circles when Barney caught up to her.

"Woah, easy there. You're making me dizzy."

She giggled, latching on to his hand again as he reached over to ruffle her hair. She climbed up onto a nearby bench, legs dangling over the edge, and began to feed the reformed group of birds from a bag of crumbled crackers in her coat pocket. Apparently pigeon indignance only lasted until the next mealtime.

"Uncle Barney?"

"Hmm?"

"How come you and Aunt Robin aren't married?"

He should have expected this line of interrogation. Melanie had become fascinated by the idea of weddings lately, making all sorts of grand statements about her future groom (Barney was pretty sure Ted found this hilarious) and introducing her dolls as husband and wife, regardless of their genders (which had apparently caused a few raised eyebrows at daycare.)

"We just don't want to be."

"But you love each other, right?" She was staring up at him, crackers forgotten, her eyes wide and worried.

"Of course we do." He'd always been sure of that, although it still felt strange to be saying it so casually. "But just because you love someone doesn't mean you have to get married."

Melanie looked dubious, like he was contradicting every bedtime story she'd ever been told. "How come you don't want to?"

He shrugged. There was really no way to explain it in preschooler-ese. "We just like the way things are." He almost laughed at her look of frustrated curiosity. "It'll make more sense when you're older."

She finally seemed satisfied, returning to her crumb-feeding. A few minutes had passed in comfortable quiet when his phone rang.

"Yeah? Really? Awesome, we'll be right there."

Melanie was practically shaking with excitement as he hung up. "What is it?"

"You, my friend, have a brand-new baby brother waiting to meet you. Hop on." He hoisted her onto his shoulders, wincing as she clutched at his hair, and started back the way they'd come.

"Uncle Barney?" Her voice was hushed as she whispered in his ear.

"Yeah?"

"Are you and Aunt Robin gonna have babies?"

He sighed.
______

Ted isn't sure when Barney started to change. It's been a gradual evolution, like a pebble being smoothed by a river's current, but every time he sees Barney casually wipe pizza sauce off Robbie's face at dinner or pick out an old Beatles song on the piano for Melanie to sing along to, he knows it's real. After Robin tells him about a bedtime story so epic it manages to include princesses, ninjas and fighter pilots, he no longer feels apprehensive about leaving he kids in their care.

Well.. not much, anyway.

"Hey, Ted."

"Hey, Robin. I didn't wake you, did I?"

"Nah, we're just having breakfast. How's Boston?"

"So great. I wish you could see the new building, it's amazing."

She listens to him go on about cornices and foyers and arches for a while before they get back to the topic she's sure he's called to discuss.

"How are the kids?"

"Oh, they're great. Melly lost a tooth last night."

"Aw man, I missed it? I love playing Tooth Fairy."

"Somehow that explains so much about you."

"Ha ha. So what's going on now?"

"Typical Sunday morning. Barney's making pancakes."

"They're not the inappropriately shaped ones, are they? He promised he'd stop that after we got kicked out of IHOP that time."

"No, he knows better than that." There was a significant pause. "I think."

Over the phone line, he heard an outbreak of laughter coming from the kitchen.

"Ted, I'm gonna have to call you back."

Sometimes the old cliche about change held true after all.
_____

When Melanie was ten and her brother just six years old, the two of them rescued a stray dog off the street. The pup was a skinny, sad-faced mongrel, but after some much needed vet care and grooming (Uncle Marshall was a soft touch) the three of them were in Robin's living room stating their case.

"We can't keep him 'cause Mom's got allergies, and Dad said you really like dogs, so maybe you could keep him here? Please?" The noise level in the room went up several decibels as both children and the dog added their pleas to the mix.

"I don't know guys, I really don't think Barney's gonna go for that."

Unbeknownst to her, as she was negotiating, the stray was already making himself at home. Robin had expected Barney to veto the idea of owning any dog, let alone one that appeared to be part terrier, part basset hound and part walking drool factory, but by the time she tracked the dog down, the two of them were giving her identical pleading looks. He didn't even seem to notice the white hair on his lapels.

The last of her resolve crumbled as the little mutt ambled over and sat on her feet.

"Okay, fine. I have kind of missed having a dog."
_____

Melanie was a junior in high school when she had her heart broken for the first time. She'd had crushes before and even dated a few boys casually, but the end of her first serious relationship was a new and disappointing milestone. One of the first things she did (after crying on her mother's shoulder and talking her father out of going after her now-ex-boyfriend with a baseball bat) was ask if she could call her Aunt Robin, who was away covering an oil spill off the coast of Oregon.

"And he just dumped me, in front of everyone. Can you believe it?" By this time she'd reached the Anger stage of the break-up bereavement process.

"Sweetie, I'm so sorry. It sounds like he wasn't really worth your time."

"I know." She sighed, leaning against the wall and reaching for the much-loved teddy bear she hadn't taken out of her closet since grade school. "Dad's been telling us all these stories from when you guys were younger, but I guess it didn't really sink in."

"What didn't?"

"I always thought when you found the right person you'd know, and it would be easy. But it's really mostly luck, isn't it?"

"Luck's a part of it," Robin admitted. "But it takes a lot of effort, too. Even the good relationships aren't always easy."

"You and Uncle Barney have it pretty easy."

There was a noise on the other end of the line that sounded suspiciously like a hastily muffled laugh. "Oh, hon. Your dad hasn't gotten that far, has he?"

"Nuh-uh."

"Well, trust me - every relationship takes work. But with the good ones, you know it's worth it."

"I guess." She toyed with the bear's frayed fabric bow. "Do boys ever stop being stupid?"

Robin wasn't really sure how to answer that.



"Robbie, it's time I taught you something every man should know."

The boy looked up at his uncle warily. "I already know about girls, remember?"

Barney grinned. "There'll be plenty of time for that later, kid. Believe it or not, this is about something even more important." With a flourish reminiscent of his old magic routine, he produced a length of blue silk with a subtle striped pattern.

"You wanna teach me how to tie a tie? Can't Dad show me that?"

"Please. When was the last time you saw your dad wear a tie?"

He had a point.

"Robert, the fine art of suiting up is a learned skill that will take you far in life." Barney went on. "Mastering this simple act is merely the first step along a much greater path."

Robbie had long since learned that the best way to deal with Uncle Barney in situations like this was to just smile and nod and let him get on with it. So the two of them spent three hours knotting and un-knotting in front of the bathroom mirror before his progress was pronounced satisfactory. He'd only worn a suit once before, to his great-aunt's funeral, and wearing a tie still kind of felt like being constantly strangled, but over the next few days he practiced the half-windsor so often he could practically tie it blindfolded.

Coming out of his room with the tie undone around his neck, he ran into his sister hanging up the phone.

"Feeling better?"

She smiled shakily. "Kinda."

"Good. That guy was a douchebag."

"Don't say douchebag, Robbie. It's gross."

His retort was interrupted by a call from their father. "Kids, get in here! I want to tell you something."

Sharing an exasperated look, they headed off toward the living room.
 
 
Current Mood: busy
Current Music: Michael Bublé - Everything
 
 
 
Katie the Blue Kitten: HIMYM - Barney comforting Robinkatayla on January 31st, 2009 05:23 am (UTC)
"You and Uncle Barney have it pretty easy."

There was a noise on the other end of the line that sounded suspiciously like a hastily muffled laugh. "Oh, hon. Your dad hasn't gotten that far, has he?"


Haha! Wonderful line! And wonderful fic!

And, okay, I think this and the fic I just posted must exist in the same universe. Here's hoping we're both right . . .
Hippie Geek Girl: HIMYM - shoulder leangypsyjr on February 1st, 2009 01:14 am (UTC)
Thank you! And hah, they totally could. Yours actually reminded me that I needed to post this. :)
(Deleted comment)
Hippie Geek Girl: NPH - Elmo hugsgypsyjr on February 1st, 2009 01:16 am (UTC)
thank you.
(Deleted comment)
Hippie Geek Girl: HIMYM - shoulder leangypsyjr on February 1st, 2009 01:17 am (UTC)
Hee. Really, I think the only honest answer to that question is "... kinda."

Thanks for reading.
idioticonion: HIMYM Sam Approvesidioticonion on January 31st, 2009 09:11 am (UTC)
Yay! Even more kid!fic! This is a great day.

I loved that Robin and Barney were so well characterised. You did a great job. You know, I always have trouble naming Ted's daughter, because I don't think they'd really call her Leia. Mel is a nice name. But, I dunno, I do kind of think of the boy as a Luke. ;-)

Anyway, Sam Stinson approves. ;-)
1angelette1angelette on January 31st, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
I always want to name the boy Luke and the girl Laura or Linda or something.

But yes, this was soooo cuuuute. The cross-dressing dolls are very funny.
Hippie Geek Girl: NPH - Elmo hugsgypsyjr on February 1st, 2009 01:19 am (UTC)
Thanks! :)
Hippie Geek Girl: HIMYM - shoulder leangypsyjr on February 1st, 2009 01:19 am (UTC)
Thanks!

Ted's daughter is actually named after my cousin, because I couldn't think of anything better. XD And my friend jokingly said "call him Bob!" when I asked her what the boy's name should be, so that's how that came about.

(If it helps at all, they named the dog Chewie. ;)
roland44: Cobie approves!roland44 on January 31st, 2009 09:19 am (UTC)
"Aw man, I missed it? I love playing Tooth Fairy."
"Somehow that explains so much about you."

*grins*

Barney and the puppy? CUTENESS OVERLOAD!

She toyed with the bear's frayed fabric bow. Is that...FEELY?!

That was so great :D
Hippie Geek Girl: NPH - Elmo hugsgypsyjr on February 1st, 2009 01:20 am (UTC)
Thank you! And good on you for spotting the cameo. ;)
Otemps: Barney bathotempora42 on January 31st, 2009 11:48 am (UTC)
Aw, it's so cute. I loved the bit with the inappropriately-shaped pancakes -- Barney will never stop being Barney. Anyway, I really loved this!
Hippie Geek Girl: HIMYM - quote - voice of reasongypsyjr on February 1st, 2009 01:25 am (UTC)
Barney will never stop being Barney.

That's what I'm hoping. Even at his tamest, he'll never be fully domesticated. ;) Thanks for reading.
Adina: himym: opening creditsadinarj on January 31st, 2009 03:39 pm (UTC)
You did such a good job of giving the kids personalities that I'd forgotten we kind of "met" them in the show.

I love Barney as Uncle Barney. The part about the dog--vintage Barney.
Hippie Geek Girl: HIMYM - shoulder leangypsyjr on February 1st, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
Thank you! The "Uncle Barney and Aunt Robin" scenario is so fun to explore, and I really hope we get to see it on the show at some point.
the mad lavenny 'shipper: ash + sheila - screencap by gypsyjrone_more_cherry on February 1st, 2009 12:25 am (UTC)
Aww, you're much welcome for the encouragment, man!

I SO LOVE THIS FIC. SO MUCH. It's so adorable and IC!
Hippie Geek Girl: HIMYM - group huggypsyjr on February 1st, 2009 01:30 am (UTC)
Thank you! :D
Butterflysnogged on February 1st, 2009 01:02 am (UTC)
Nicely done!

This was really cute
Hippie Geek Girl: NPH - Elmo hugsgypsyjr on February 1st, 2009 01:37 am (UTC)
Thanks. I can't resist a bit of gratuitous cuteness every once in a while. :)
hermione_solohermione_solo on February 1st, 2009 04:59 am (UTC)
so the thought that Barney loves The Last Unicorn made my day. then it got even better. thanks for such a great fic!
Hippie Geek Girl: my characters - CK - grinninggypsyjr on February 1st, 2009 05:56 am (UTC)
:D Thank you! I'm still waiting to see if anyone gets the Twice Upon a Time reference. (My animation dork roots are totally showing.)
Stephlive_brave on February 3rd, 2009 02:17 am (UTC)
This is so great! I love future fics that I could actually see happening on the show. Wonderful job! Thanks for sharing this. :D
Hippie Geek Girl: HIMYM - shoulder leangypsyjr on February 3rd, 2009 02:22 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)
teacup in a storm: alicehatter //lost my mind but i got youaeternitasbeach on February 7th, 2009 11:17 am (UTC)
ah! This makes me wish I had an Aunt Robin and an Uncle Barney in my life!
superbly written! :)
Hippie Geek Girl: NPH - Elmo hugsgypsyjr on February 11th, 2009 04:41 am (UTC)
Thank you! :)